The apple tree hangs pregnant with sweet fruit. Any moment it’s waters will break and I’ll be on the phone to Gilles to come home. The late rains and warm southern air have created a greenhouse climate this last month or so. The tree is a matter of some interest to nearly everyone. An aunt to the South has called to check on progress. She will actually travel up so that neither pip nor peel is wasted. She has several culinary plans. In recent years the French have rather taken to apple crumble and there is always the faithful old tart – but I don’t want to talk about myself all the time. But the point is – and I know I keep on about this – that the affairs of growth, soil and food are the concern of everyone. An unharvested tree is a matter of genuine emotional distress. Even fallers, bruised decayed or wormed are seen as sorrows as if they were lost souls. One of my neighbours will collect the most rotten and damaged fruit from the ground and fight to save some unblemished morsel. Quite often she will present a bag of moribund windfall survivors to me with the cheerful words “they are at their sweetest now – there is little time!” Quite so. I know how they must feel.
Let’s talk about love poetry. I saw a great love poem on the web the other day by the writer John Geddes. – obviously about someone he knew. Since that person was inaccessible to the reader, the poet relies on our experience as being at least similar in our own contexts. The great thing about Love Poetry is that most of us know the subject. Possibly more of love is known by its absence and by the experience of longing. My own guess is that many “Love Poems” are not written about love itself, but the intensity and vibrancy of the writing can only come from someone who is newly and desperately in love. If there was one thing I would beg poets to do it would be to write, write, write when such matters are upon them. The tender rage of lips un-kissed will soften with the kissing and harden with denial. Seize your moments and put it out there in print cos I love it! I guess I don’t have a favourite love poem but Elizabeth Barrett-Browning’s brand of cool fire takes some beating. In my innocent youth I became captivated by Oscar Wilde. His letters to his lover Bosie are beautiful. Take a look here.(By the way I think that a letter or a paragraph of prose can be a poem. You know it’s a poem when each word counts so much that no one counts the words). On my poetry page I’ve put up a poem of my own. It’s not a “love poem” but it’s about being in love on a wet London day and not being with my man. It was one of those days when I was alive to every feeling in the catalogue. Check out “For Gilles”.
A very important letter arrived from the Electricity Company. An official would call to do my reading today before noon. I waited in. A young guy in a baseball hat pointed some kind of ray gun at my house and walked on, jigging about to his iPod music. Was that it? Officials just ain’t what they used to be. Ever since Tony Blair went cool and took his tie off we’ve been slipping down the slope. I saw Sarko and Cameron on the TV in Paris. Their suits looked identical but the French president had a centre jacket vent and the Brit PM two side vents. I reckon it made his bum look bigger. I guess statesmen don’t have wardrobe guys.
Emma thinx: Love is an any gendered thing.